Canberra Youth Theatre is committed to investing in the creation and development of new works. Our goal is to commission and produce a body of new Australian plays written especially for young people, and nurture the professional development of emerging playwrights.

Canberra Youth Theatre is proud to announce the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Playwright Commission, ACT-based playwright Joanna Richards for her play You Can’t Tell Anyone. Read more about Joanna here.

Emerging Playwright Commission

Canberra Youth Theatre is offering a playwriting commission for an emerging playwright or writing team to create a new full-length work that brings young voices and stories to the stage. The commission offers a successful emerging playwright or writing team $16,200 to develop a full-length script suitable to be performed by actors aged anywhere between 7 and 25.

Our goal is to nurture an emerging playwright’s professional growth by investing in their artistic development at the early stages of their career, and supporting them through a creative development process that results in a new, challenging and intelligent theatrical work that expresses the voice of youth, whilst contributing to the development of a rich canon of new Australian plays written especially for young people.

The commissioned playwright will receive dramaturgical support and a creative development workshop on their script in Canberra with the Artistic Director and Resident Artists.

The successful commission will be granted through an open application process, assessed by a panel of young artists, and chosen by the Artistic Director. The successful writer will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other young artists across our Emerging Artists Program, and participate in activities and conversations that contribute to the artistic vision of Canberra Youth Theatre.

Read all of the guidelines below, then email your submission in one PDF document to programs@canberrayouththeatre.com.au

Applications close Monday 26 April at 6pm
Any submissions after this date may not be considered. If you have any questions, phone 02 6248 5057.


Writers must be:

  • an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged over 16 and under 35 at the time of applying
  • an emerging artist who is in the early stages of their career and has created a modest body of work in the independent sector, but not professionally produced by a major theatre company.

We strongly encourage applications from:

  • ACT and surrounding regions based artists
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse artists
  • Artists who identify as LGBTQIA+
  • Artists with disability


  • Works that are driven by and exclusively involve young characters.
  • Works suitable to be performed by actors aged between 7 and 25 years (you do not need to write for the entire age range).
  • Cast size should be a minimum of 8 characters, and be suited for an ensemble cast rather than being driven by one central character.
  • Plays that will be a minimum one hour long. 
  • Bold ideas that are challenging, intelligent, theatrically adventurous, and give young performers sophisticated, exciting roles to perform and extend their skills.
  • Stories, ideas and characters that are relevant and authentic to the experiences and passions of young people.
  • A play that challenges audiences expectations about what theatre created by young people is capable of.


Applications must be submitted as a single PDF file, and include the following:

  • Your full contact details (name, email, phone number, address, date of birth)
  • A synopsis for your proposed play (1 page max)
  • Proposed cast size, age group and character breakdown (½ page max)
  • A writer’s statement on the inspiration for the work, its urgency, and relevance for young people (½ page max)
  • A statement on why this commission is important to you at this stage in your professional career development (max ½ page)
  • Examples of your existing written work (up to four pages, not material from your proposed play)
  • We can only accept one entry per person

We understand that developing a submission can be a daunting process, so we encourage you to call and talk to us and we can help guide you through the process. Call our Program Administrator, Helen Wojtas, on 02 6248 5057 for further information.


  • Shortlisted applicants will be required to participate in a Zoom/in-person interview to provide us with more information about your proposal in order for us to make a final decision.
  • Applicants must be able to deliver a production-ready draft by early-2022.
  • Successful applicants must be prepared to participate in at least one script development workshop involving young people from Canberra Youth Theatre. 
  • The applicant must exclusively own and control all copyright and all other related rights to the submitted script.
  • Canberra Youth Theatre is unable to confirm whether the successful commission will be programmed as part of our annual production season, as this will be dependent on funding, resources and other artistic considerations.


Please email your submission in one PDF document to programs@canberrayouththeatre.com.au

Applications close Monday 26 April at 6pm. Any submissions after this date may not be considered. 

If you have any questions, phone 02 6248 5057.